Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Making the Squad: Part 1

Teams going to the World Cup announced expanded rosters today.

Most teams picked from 25 to 30 players, the last step before they get down to the 23 they will be able to take to South Africa 2010.

The Johannesburg Times has a list of the selections made by most teams. See it here.

In every country, debates are raging over who already isn't on the team. Who has been left out, and why? And which semi-anonymous guys who happen to have hit a hot patch are suddenly in the running for the final roster.

Among the biggest names:

Ronaldinho and Ronaldo not called in by Brazil. Not really a surprise in either case, but those are some big names, and the two gentlemen made clear they wanted to go ... but coach Dunga said "no thanks."

For France, Patrick Vieira and Karim Benzema were not invited. In England, Owen Hargreaves and Gary Neville are staying home.

The preliminary U.S. team is not on the Johannesburg Times list, at this writing.

So here is a link to a list of the 30 players called in by U.S. coach Bob Bradley.

Surprises there? Among the left out, Charlie Davies, nearly killed in a traffic accident last year; Conor Casey, who had some big moments during qualifying last year; Freddy Adu, considered the next great American player just a few years ago. Among the surprise called in, Edson Buddle, who at 29 has played in less than 15 minutes with the national side; Alejandro Bedoya, Robbie Findlay, Herculez Gomez, each with minimal histories with the U.S.

To recap: These lists are going to be further shaved in a few weeks, and the really hard cuts are ahead. For now, sure, plenty to talk about when it comes to your own national team. A little harder to get really interested in the Nos. 20-30 guys for other squads.
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